Selling online is explosively potential. We are coming close to the end of 2016 and positively expecting nearly $1.9 trillion sales in online retail. Double-digit will continue in the next 4 years to 2020, when eCommerce sales will top up to $4 trillion.

People are seeing golden opportunities everywhere and turning from a stable nine-to-five job to building their own online business. Competition is fiercely growing day by day. You’re probably wondering how to sell online successfully, beat the competition, and make a fortune for yourself?

Forecast the trends and be one of the first movers - that’s our advice to take the lead in eCommerce industry. Let’s move forward strong to 2017 by knowing what’s going on in this year, and get well prepared for it.

#1 Asia is driving the boom in eCommerce sales

Trend:

Since the emergence of e-Commerce, the US has been the main driver of the industry. Over the last 2 decades, the US has seen a consistent year-over-year growth rate of over 10% in online retail sales.

However, the global e-Commerce is still enjoying huge growth, thanks to the booming markets in Asia, especially China:

China-growth-of-global-ecommerce-sales

Strategies:

The massive shift of e-Commerce towards Asia surges eCommerce brands to start going global, outside of their focus on the US market. From its nature, e-Commerce makes geological boundaries something irrelevant. Technologies like Paypal ease all limitations involved in the online purchasing process like secure payment and shipping.

Making a brand going into international markets is easier said than done, though. However, it is totally possible if executed strategically. Comprehensive marketing research to understand the needs and tastes of local consumers, well-translated websites, selling strategies in line with local behavior and norms will lead to success. Plus, international sales are not imposed VAT tax,  which can be compensated for the rise in transnational shipping rate.

#2 Predictive Personalized Recommendation changes the game

Trend:

Artificial Intelligence disrupts our life in almost areas from education, politics, entertainment to commerce. How is it shaking up things in e-Commerce industry and shaping its future?

It may sounds paradoxical, but artificial intelligence is making personalization in online shopping on websites possible and just as effective as, or even superior to shopping in brick-and-mortar stores.

How can a machine know exactly what an individual have preferences for? Amazon took the first move long ago. Its big data technology scrawls over sales history and purchasing patterns of millions of shopper, analyzes in multiple dimensions and forms precise predictive recommendations for each shopper.

2 years ago, Amazon already announced that 35% of its revenue comes from personalized  upsell & cross-sell recommendations. Till now, 70% of the website are covered with product recommendations. They prove to be the future of many more years in eCommerce.

Strategies:

It’s time for small & medium brands to adopt artificial intelligence as the main competitive advantage.

How to sell online and make money with artificial intelligence?

1 - Just like Amazon, install a product recommendation widget on each page to reveal more product options to customers when they browse around on your store.

how to sell online with personalized product recommendation

Source: Personalized Recommendation app

The widget will analyze sales history and behavior patterns of all customers over time to generate the most personalized recommendations that an individual customer will highly want to buy.

2 - Engage with customers by personalized emails based on their behavior to get them back to your store regularly. Artificial intelligence technology helps you send out triggered emails automatically to each customers, just like you’re personally writing to them.

 sell_online_with_email_automation

Source: Mailbot – Email Automation app

3 - Upsell & cross-sell products to customers based on what they are interested in:

 how to sell online with upsell & cross-sell

Source: Boost Sales app

#3 How to sell online with Email Marketing: Target Segmentation

Trend:

Nowadays, people are too tired with receiving too many unrelated emails in a day. 49,1% of subscribers report receiving irrelevant emails every single day.

statistics on irrelevant email marketing

Brands are still leveraging email marketing, because the channel works really well in bringing traffic back and converting them. However, how many companies do you think really win from this channel, if doing it the traditional ways?

Unless you turn to target segmentation for smarter email strategies, you will shut down opportunities to make sales and get subscribers leave your list.

Strategies:

You will be able to dramatically boost up ROI of email marketing once you trigger right emails to each customer based on his/her previous purchases, interests or behavior on your store. That can only be done by segmenting your list.

Choose an email marketing app that enables flexible list segmentation by multiple criteria, because you would want to define a specific group of customers by at least 3-4 conditions.

list segmentation with Mailbot

Source: Mailbot – Email Automation app

#4 Are mobile visitors really converting?

Trend:

Latest report “The Mobile Shopping App Landscape” by Google Thinking has revealed that 58% of smartphone owners use their phone for shopping now, and 66% of them perform mobile shopping activities at least weekly.

 Here are the top 5 shopping activities:

  • 68% browse or look for products
  • 61% look for discounts or special offers
  • 55% compare prices
  • 51% make a purchase

So yes, never before have mobile shoppers been so ready to convert into actual sales. At the end of 2015, smartphone revenue accounted for 40% of of total eCommerce sales. It is projected to reach 70% by the end of 2017, overtaking desktop revenue.

It’s right now the era of mobile shopping.

Strategies:

Should you go with a mobile shopping app or a responsive mobile website? 41% of people prefer to make purchase on mobile shopping apps, compared to 34% who prefer mobile websites. While 49% choose to share a product with their friends or family via mobile apps, only 21% prefer doing that on mobile websites. In terms of loyalty engagement, 53% of shoppers prefer retrieving their account / loyalty information via mobile apps, while 28% do that on mobile websites.

So, it is highly recommended to build a mobile shopping app for your brand to catch this massive e-Commerce trend.

 how_to_sell_online_with_mobile_app

Source: SellMob app

Sellmob is the recommended tool to build both iOS and Android shopping apps for your store fastest, most cost-effectively and seamlessly.

Furthermore, 91% of shoppers on mobile shopping apps find push notifications on mobile useful, with reasons ranked as below:

notifications in mobile apps

Create push notifications with Sellmob to engage your customers with your app. If your app delivers great values and convenience, marketing notifications will not be a turnoff.

#5 A user-centric, optimized experience is growing from a priority to a competitive advantage

Trend:

No doubt is e-Commerce booming on a global scale, to some extent it is though becoming a highly saturated market. How to beat the heated competition and sell online successfully? You need a competitive advantage: excellent user experience. 

According to www.smartinsights.com, by the end of 2016, 89% of entrepreneurs believe that customer experience will be their primary mode of competition.

Strategies:

Everywhere you get in touch with customers in the whole shopping process (even post-purchase moments), you can optimize their experience to engage them more with your brand and convert them into paying. 

For example, if collecting email subscribers with sticky header bar or fixed side-box doesn’t work well for you, test coupon popups to deliver a different and more exciting experience:

 coupon pop up to grow email list

Source: Better Coupon Box app

Or why don’t you change on-site live chat to direct Messenger to better engage with customers and build long-term relationship with them on Facebook?

 facebook live chat for online store

Source: Quick Facebook Chat app

Break the customer journey into most detailed conversion funnel, measure and continuously optimize user experience of each funnel stage. Paying attention to each small touch-point with customers will level up the whole performance of your store, and definitely help you sell online more effectively.

Conclusion:

The trends are obvious: eCommerce is going to book in the coming years, with heating competition, larger international swift instead of focus within USA, and technological advantages. How to sell online successfully? The only way you can answer this question is finding ways to catch up with the trends and make your brand on the lead.

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